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The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1974, Volume 20, Number 1

The Mexican War: Changing Interpretations. Edited by Odie B. Faulk and Joseph A. Stout, Jr. Chicago: The Swallow Press, 1973. Index. Notes. $3.95.

Two historians who would probably disagree with David Pletcher’s interpretation. of the Mexican War are Odie B. Faulk and Joseph A. Stout, Jr. In the introduction to their anthology, they take exception to the idea that the United States provoked war with Mexico. Unfortunately, few of the writers in this anthology contribute to understanding such broad questions as causation of the war (exceptions are articles by Magdelen Coughlin, Curtis Reynolds, and Seymour Connor). Rather than a collection of “Changing Interpretations,” as the title suggests, this volume contains articles on specific aspects of the war and emphasizes description over interpretation.

Articles of special interest to readers of this Journal are: “California Ports: A Key to West Coast Diplomacy, 1820 – 1845,” by Magdalen Coughlin; “Jones at Monterey, 1842,” by James High; “The Pacific Squadron off California,” by Oakah L. Jones, Jr.; “U.S. Military Forces in California,” by D. E. Livingston-Little; and “Nicholas P. Trist: Treaty-Maker,” by Kenneth Johnson. The latter article concerns American failure to acquire Baja California.

Rather than compiling the best historical literature on the Mexican War, the editors have chosen only articles which have appeared in the Journal of the West (indeed, of the seventeen selections, thirteen appeared in one issue of that Journal-April, 1972). Thus, despite the book’s attractive price and format, it might not find wide adoptions in the university market for which it seems designed. DJW